If you’re looking for a way to make your backyard oasis a little more secluded, a privacy fence is a perfect addition for your home. Privacy fences are great because they add security, block prying eyes, and let your furry friends run around leash-free in your backyard.
Building a privacy fence can give you peace of mind, especially if you have young children or pets, but they do require an investment from the homeowner. Whether you are choosing to install a privacy fence yourself like a DIY pro or go with a professional fence company, there are a few factors you have to take into consideration when estimating privacy fence costs.
Here are some suggestions to consider when estimating the cost of a privacy fence. Use this list to help guide your decision making:
1. Check Your Zoning Laws and HOA
Before purchasing any materials, you should make sure your fence will meet your local county requirements and that you have permission to install it. First, you will need to know where you property lines are. If you have any doubts, have a survey done. You should also check your local zoning laws before seriously investing time and money into fence installation. Depending on where you live, there might be height limitations and boundary requirements for fences.
After verifying your local zoning laws, it’s not a bad idea to check with your local Homeowner’s Association (HOA) too. They might have strict guidelines about the types of fences, including materials and colors, you can build on your property. It’s always better to make sure sooner rather than later that your fence meets requirements and that you have permission to build it.
The Fence Authority has been installing fences around West Chester, PA and Montgomeryville, PA for over two decades, so we know a thing or two about fence laws and requirements in Pennsylvania. If you’re curious to learn more about how to find your property line, ask a professional before you start installing.
2. Mark Off Your Utilities
If you do not have a fence around your property already, you are going to have to mark the utility lines before building a privacy fence. Marking off your utilities sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes this step gets overlooked. Not marking off your utility lines could lead to a nasty surprise like accidentally hitting pipes or wires underground while installing your fence—ouch!
You don’t want your fence directly on top of utility lines either. If the county has to do repair work, your brand new privacy fence might be torn out of the ground, and you’ll have to start all over again. Before digging, call 811 to get in touch with your local utility companies.
3. Determine Land Area and Grading
Alright, so now that you know where your property line is located, you’ve marked off your utilities, and you have the go-ahead to install a privacy fence, it’s time to figure out where exactly it’s going to be on your property. If you live in a townhome community or subdivision, you probably already have a plat that shows the divisions of your land drawn to scale. If you do not have a plat, you can purchase a measuring wheel to determine the amount of fencing materials needed.
While measuring, remember that you are going to be installing a fence post about every six to eight feet depending on the style of fence and panel size selected. Many DIY fence builders forget to account for posts, which are often the most expensive part of the installation. Fence posts must be buried at least three feet into the ground and set with concrete, adding to the cost. If you’re a determined DIYer, we have all the info you need on how to install fences posts that stay put.
If you are building a privacy fence on a slope, you are also going have to consider how to install the fence on an angle. A sloped landscape means more work, as you have to dig, plant posts, pour concrete, and balance the fence. For DIYers, building on a slope can be a time-consuming challenge to tackle. If you hire a professional company, this additional work could lead to higher costs due to longer installation time.
4. Choose Your Privacy Fence Materials
Now that you have the area measured, you’re ready to select your materials! Typically, privacy fences are about six feet in height and come in pre-built panels. Wooden and vinyl privacy fences are both popular choices for homeowners.
Wooden privacy fences come in several different styles depending on your preference. For those who enjoy home decor, wooden fences are easy to customize with stain or paint to make them all your own, but you will need to reapply stain and paint annually.
If you want a privacy fence that needs little to no maintenance, a vinyl privacy fence or semi-private fence might be a good choice. Vinyl privacy fences are one of the more expensive fencing materials, but have a longer life than wood and require little maintenance. Vinyl comes in similar styles to wood privacy fences, including solid boards and panels with a lattice top.
Choose the material that suits your needs, but remember that going with the cheapest option might not be the best idea long term. A less expensive wood often means it’s of a lower quality and will have to be replaced sooner. A cheaper vinyl fence can mean that the vinyl is thinner and requires more support. Building a privacy fence is an investment, and it’s wise to consider possible upkeep in the future as well as the initial price of installation. Check out the top 7 privacy fence styles you can purchase online today.
5. Weight the Costs: Labor vs DIY
Installing your own fence is where DIYers can save the most money. Just remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your fence won’t be either. If want to get the most out of building your own fence, research how to install a fence, grab a buddy, and take your time.
To eliminate mistakes, DIYers should seriously consider getting a friend to help with installation. For example, it’s hard for a person to attach panels evenly alone. Taking your time during construction is important too, as attaching panels before the cement around your posts is completely dry will make your fence crooked.
If you want to install a privacy fence right away with no hassle, consider contacting a professional fencing company. While the cost of labor will be higher than doing it on your own, the fence will be installed faster, and you’ll avoid getting frustrated over a DIY job gone wrong.
Want to install a privacy fence?
If you’re ready to install a privacy fence around your property, let us know! Check out the privacy fences we have in stock to get started. If you don’t feel 100% confident in your ability to install a privacy fence and want to sit back and relax, we can help with our professional fence installation service.